Into the Realms of Ulmo

Author: Dwimordene

Nominator: Azalais

2011 Award Category: Character Study: General - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Every prophet has his call, however strange it be. Tuor enters the realms of Ulmo.

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Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 10

Sea longing is a recurrent, but rather mysterious theme in many of Tolkien's works, from Tuor and Earendil to Aldarion and Legolas. Dwimordene spiritualizes it in this account of Tuor's meeting with Ulmo--it is revealed both an intense personal passion and a profound religious experience. If it could be argued that Tolkien in his account of Arda in some ways presents us with a de-spiritualized mythology, Dwimordene, as elsewhere, factors that excluded dimension back in, trying to take the concept of a Vala of the Sea seriously in its own terms and imagine what it might be like to encounter such a being. In reviewing this story when it was posted on the Silmarillion Writers' Guild Archive I wrote: This story shows impressively the irruption of the sacred and numinous into a human life. It also greatly helps to make sense of Tuor's behaviour and actions towards the end of the story, after the fall of Gondolin, in Nan-tathren and in Sirion. I wonder how Tuor's relationship with Idril would be affected by his transformation into Ulmo's prophet. Of course, he hasn't even met her yet, although she has been briefly shown to him, but I had always imagined that it would be his human nature that would have been the main barrier between them that they had to overcome - now I see that it might not have been.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 7

Dwimordene outdoes herself, no easy task, in this gorgeously written short story of Tuor and Ulmo. I've always found Tuor to be one of the more interesting characters in [The Silmarillion]; but he usually gets short shrift in fanfiction, at least compared to certain flashy Feanorians. This story does not disappoint. Here, Tuor's sea change is written credibly, with lyricism and power, the otherness of Ulmo's realm and purpose resonating in Tuor's ready but mortal heart. There is the sense of Tuor both as ready clay for a god's will and as a courageous man seeking the heart of greater mysteries, and coming out of the waters forever bound to them. It's not every day that I read a story that captures the essence of a scene or idea or moment in the Silmarillion and brilliantly expands it, making it bigger and more visceral without losing the germ of Tolkien's thought. This is an outstanding glimpse into core dynamics between the Divine and Man, Man and Nature, and into the heart of [The Silmarillion]. I recommend it highly.

Reviewed by: Azalais  ✧  Score: 7

Full fathom five doth Tuor lie; and doth suffer a sea-change/Into something rich, and strange... I was captivated the first time I read this piece by the sheer *strangeness* Dwim brings about, strangeness of events and environment and language. Tuor is seduced by a power he neither understands nor recognises; Dwim very effectively evokes the sheer compulsion of that call, [conviction... or command?] and I am sure I will not be the only reader to think of other Tolkien characters unable to resist the call of the Sea. As I read this piece I can hear, see, feel, smell the salt and the rocks, the gulls and the sand; it's an impressive exercise in description, taking the reader with it into the depths and then, gasping, once more unto the sands; like an Elf struck by the Sea-longing, never to be the same again. Gripping and evocative, even if the Sil is not your usual stamping-ground and Tuor is not a character you've ever given a great deal of thought to.

Reviewed by: DrummerWench  ✧  Score: 5

In this compelling and mysterious gap-filler, Dwimordene shows us a possible explanation of Tolkien's reference to Tuor's travels to or engagements with "Ulmo's realms"--what does that even mean? Dwim speculates convincingly, and gives us a short tale of what it might actually mean to be a devoted servant of someone who either is, or is mighty close to being, a god. We see Tuor's compulsions, feelings, and reactions in his dealings with Ulmo and his realms, the descriptions of which are as believable as the more mundane settings.

Reviewed by: Caunedhiel  ✧  Score: 3

I certainly loved the connection between Ulmo and Tuor, it gives a real and ethereal feel to the epic and sometimes detached feel of the Silmarillion. Your descriptions are a superb feast for the senses and I love the thought of Ulmo claiming Tuor as a Son of the Sea.

Reviewed by: Sevilodorf  ✧  Score: 1

Evocative imagery